If you have been wondering why you don’t see many people out and about on Edmonton streets, this is the answer. Not everyone shovels their sidewalk.
When the sidewalk is not cleared, it doesn’t take long for the snow to get packed down to create a slippery surface. Those who are afraid of falling, those who need aids to walk, and those who use wheelchairs, simply cannot navigate the hazards. It’s just not worth the risk.
I had a bad fall last spring that fractured my wrist and pelvis, and even though I have recovered very well, I still have a fear of falling. It’s not logical, but nevertheless, it is affecting my willingness to venture outside. After returning to Edmonton on Monday I hibernated for a couple of days partly because it was very cold, and partly because of the uncleared sidewalks.
Most home- and business owners are very diligent about making sure they do their civic duty when it comes to snow, but a few do not. Perhaps those homeowners are not resident, or those businesses may have closed and left a building vacant, but whatever the reason I have found in the last couple of days that there are enough unshoveled sidewalk areas to make walking about very tricky.
The other areas that make walking difficult are at the ends of alleys and at intersections. At the ends of alleys, vehicles drive across sidewalks and bring snow and ice with them. Those actions create another ice field that it is no one’s responsibility to clear. So, they remain to make wheelchair and walker navigation impossible.
At intersections, vehicles brake and accelerate on snow and those actions create ice on the roadway. Those sections become icy lumps that are hard to see and treacherous for pedestrians.
So, while navigating winter weather is hard on everyone, it is sometimes impossible for pedestrians and the disabled. It would be impossible for the city to clear all the sidewalks, and it would be equally difficult to arrange for ownerless stretches to be shovelled. So, lots of people will spend weeks, maybe months, housebound.
If you know someone in that situation, please visit them, offer them rides to run their errands, and maybe even shovel an orphaned stretch of sidewalk. You will make their lives a lot easier.